Newfoundlanders think Dieppe mail facility is a vortex for packages — but they're wrong

Dieppe, proud of being the fastest-growing city in New Brunswick, has also earned some not-so-flattering monikers: the vortex, Hotel California, the Bermuda Triangle of packages. 

If a package is headed somewhere in Atlantic Canada, there's a good chance it will go through Canada Post in Dieppe before heading to its final destination. The exception is Labrador, where packages arrive after being processed in Quebec City. 

For several years, people in Newfoundland have taken to social media to air their frustrations about Dieppe's mail-processing centre, saying it feels like island-bound packages get stuck there.

CBC

Newfoundlander Tom Cochrane said that every time he orders something online, he dreads the New Brunswick pit stop for his package.

"Dieppe is like the Hotel California of packages — it just ends up there, but it cannot ever leave," said Cochrane.

He's not the only one complaining.

But like all good mysteries, things are not what they seem. 

Canada Post's online tracking system allows consumers to see where a package is on its way to being delivered. 

Dieppe is the final mainland scan point before a parcel is sent to Newfoundland. So after a package is checked in there, it can seem like it is just parked in the processing centre.

Anyone checking on the progress of a package will be told it's "in Dieppe, N.B.," even if it's on the way to the island.

There are often delays with packages once they leave Dieppe, Canada Post's Tim Blizzard said, but there's no way to update the online tracking system between the Maritimes and St. John's.

"We're not delaying those items, we're loading them and putting them on trailers, and we're sending them on their way," Blizzard said of the system that's been in place for more than 20 years. 

Newfoundlanders know that weather and ferry delays often interfere with the best-laid plans, and mail services are no exception. 

Gary Moore/CBC

According to Blizzard, the standard delivery time — one without any weather-caused delays, for instance — from Dieppe to St. John's, N.L., is between 31.5 and 33.5 hours.

Packages are scanned one more time in St. John's and often delivered that same day. 

For Cochrane and other online shoppers in Newfoundland, the waiting for the package is the hardest part.

Marine Atlantic

"You're looking at your screen every day thinking, 'maybe today's the day it'll show up, maybe today's the day that it'll move' but it doesn't," Cochrane said. 

Blizzard had good news for the shoppers who felt that their packages weren't making progress (even though there's a good chance the items were in fact on the move). A change is coming next year as part of the Dieppe plant expansion underway now.

The renovations include a new parcel-processing conveyor system, which will be able to do 'nesting' scans — an internal scan that will give Canada Post the ability to show consumers where the package is after it leaves Dieppe. 

Change is coming

"That would say, you know, possibly what the reason is that it's being delayed in transportation due to a storm or being delayed in transportation due to a ferry interruption," Blizzard said. 

Blizzard sympathizes with Newfoundlanders waiting for their package and said a typical customer checks the tracking system 14 times per order.

"They have an emotional connection with those those items that they've ordered online. So they care about them all the way through the system."

Blizzard said the new system should be ready for the fall of 2020.